Welcome to the BT Sport Studios!
New intro video and song! Live fans! Not a lot of fans but still, actual, real, live people.
In terms of matches this week we have a newly reinstated Blair Davenport against an irate Stevie Turner, Sha Samuels returning to action against Flash Morgan Webster, and the first title defense for the Tsar Ilja Dragunov versus the young bull A-Kid.
Blair Davenport versus Stevie Turner
This is the first wrestling match in the Davenport suspension story. She's been calling out the women's division and feuding with Sid Scala whom she'd "viciously" attacked (pencil necked geek deserved it). Stevie Turner was Davenport's victim in a backstage segment a few weeks ago. Despite previously working as a heel Turner is getting "Let's go Stevie!" chants from the folks in attendance. It makes sense since Davenport is being built up as the big bad heel but just interesting to note crowd reaction.
Turner actually dominated the middle portion of this match but Davenport quickly turned it around with a couple of big strikes then a broken arrow for the pin fall victory. This one felt like it went by a little too quickly and I would have liked more of a chance to see both of them work. Afterwards Davenport got on the microphone and issued her standard warnings to the locker room.
This Week's Promos
Sha Samuels and Noam Dar Celebrate: Samuels set up a nice surprise for his friend Dar but the party supply place messed up and it was a "Happy Birthday" banner instead. Dar said it's just a warm up party for when he beats Bate for the Heritage Cup. This was a fun little segment between these two friends.
Teoman and Rohan Raja: a very cinematic feel to this one as the two sit at their fancy dinner table. Dramatic music plays in the background as Teoman takes responsibility for the loss and promises that the family will grow soon.
Sid Scala meets with Jinny: earlier in the week we find Scala sitting in his office waiting for a meeting with Jinny. Meiko Satomura has accepted Jinny's challenge for the NXT UK Women's Championship which will happen in 3 weeks.
Nina Samuels Show: at the PC she approaches Xia Brookside and asks her about all her losses to which Brookside responds "haven't you lost to all those women?" This sets up a match between Brookside and Aliyah James who was working out nearby.
Symbiosis versus Starz/Mastiff: next week we're getting this match as a result of all the shenanigans during the Mustache Mountain and Ashton Smith/Oliver Carter match a couple of weeks ago.
Gallus and Devlin: Gallus barge into Scala's office where Devlin was asking for a rematch with Mark and Wolfgang banned from ringside. Joe is okay with those terms so this is on.
Sha Samuels versus Flash Morgan Webster
This one came about by the now traditional NXT UK challenge of a slap to the face last week. As per the rules laid down in stone by Gallus and Mustache Mountain the face slap is a binding contract that requires an in-ring match to settle.
Flash came out fast in this one trying to shock and awe the bigger Samuels. Samuels eventually slows it down and starts to target Flash's legs. Mid match the fans started a chant in support of Flash. Flash had a crazy spot where he hit Samuels with a moonsault from the top turnbuckle after the latter had escaped to ring side. The finish to this one was fun. Flash faked out Samuels by shouting "Up top!" and making it look like he wanted an up high test of strength but instead laid Samuels out. Flash then went for a springboard but Samuels caught him and reversed it into a spinebuster for the pin fall victory.
I really wonder where they're going with Subculture. That's back to back losses for the men the last two weeks. Andrews and Luna didn't come out until after the match. They need to do something with this stable or else break them up. All this losing is getting me down.
A-Kid versus Ilja Dragunov (c) -- NXT UK Men's Championship Match
Here we go! Big time main event for the first show with some fans in attendance! A-Kid has stated he wants to make Dragunov submit or pass out. Okay good luck with that. Unbesiegbar!
Early on the men set a slower pace with some good old fashioned wrestling. Dragunov had a pretty cool looking deadlift into a slam that sounded stiff as hell. This pissed off A-Kid who responded with vicious kicks. Dragunov begins targeting A-Kid's legs and this hobbles some of A-Kid's offense. Dragunov's been learning from WALTER because a slap he delivered in the middle portion of the match sounded like a gunshot. A-Kid had a crazy submission where he used his leg to hook Dragunov's arm behind his back and then rolled it into a cover. This hurt Dragunov's arm so that when he tried his tiger feint he couldn't complete the move. This put him right into a nasty knee from A-Kid and a near fall. Again Dragunov tried his bridge dodge but collapsed as his arm gave out. Later A-Kid executed a beautiful fisherman's suplex before a rest break.
In the third act we had some nasty elbows to the back of A-Kid's head and neck that seemed to knock him out. But it wasn't enough as A-Kid still kicked out before the 3 count. This sends Dragunov to the top turnbuckle to try a desperate move but A-Kid gets out of the way and gets Dragunov in a submission. Every time Dragunov gets out of a submission A-Kid is able to quickly transition to another one. Dragunov was able to counter A-Kid as he went to the top turnbuckle but A-Kid put him in an arm-bar triangle on the ropes (a la Charlotte Flair). A-Kid tries for another aerial from the top but Dragunov gets his hands on him and suplexes him from the top turnbuckle. This leads to chants of "NXT" and "This is awesome". As Dragunov riles up the crowd and prepares the Torpedo Moscow A-Kid is able to counter with a jump kick and a near fall.
After exchanging blows A-Kid transitions from an arm bar attempt into a triangle. Dragunov powers out of it by dead lifting him but A-Kid doesn't let go and keeps the triangle on. Eventually Dragunov gets out and hits a Torpedo Moscow to the injured leg and a second one to put him down for good and the pin fall victory!
This was yet another amazing match from both men. A-Kid is rapidly becoming one of the top work rate guys on the brand and of course our Tsar is a mad man. Long live the Tsar! Afterwards both men shake hands.
Reminder/Introduction: A+ is a near perfect show, B+ is an above average show, C+ is an average show, and anything lower than that is not good.
Admittedly I was still eating my leftover turkey with fixings during Davenport's match because my boss booked a meeting right before lunch. Sorry for the paucity of recap/reactions on that one. The Flash Morgan and Sha Samuels match was rough in spots with Sha too fast to some marks and not selling well plus Flash being too slow to climb the ropes. I highlight this to reinforce that my A grade on this was entirely due to the main event. What a match!
The crowd wasn't super rowdy but they had to have their masks on the whole time and from what I understand it was mostly wrestling media who were probably trying to write their columns. But they did get rowdy in spots and cheered wrestlers on as necessary. It was definitely miles better.
Alright Cagesiders let everyone know how you felt about this one in the comments below!